Wednesday 20 May 2020

ALBUM NEWS: Stornoway - 'The Farewell Show'

Last week saw the announcement of a live album to get excited about. To help celebrate the 10 year anniversary of their debut record Beachcomber's Windowsill this month, Stornoway are releasing The Farewell Show - recorded live at the final show of their 2017 farewell tour at Oxford's New Theatre. Being somewhat in the know (shh!) I've known about the record for a little while, and had a copy sent across a few months back. On the first opportunity I had to listen, I cried through most of it, and loved every second.

As the band wrote in an online statement "whether you missed out on this show, or were one of the lucky few who joined us on the night [...] we've handpicked a track-list that reimagines the night from soundcheck through to stage invasion." It's a beautiful combination of tracks from all three records, and captures the band's fun and energetic side alongside the quieter, unplugged tracks - really impressive in an 1800 capacity venue. The album was recorded and mixed by Oli Jacobs from the world-renowned Real World Studios, there on the night to capture the tracks and atmosphere.

The first taste of the record is Fuel Up - with the band sharing that "we hope its message will provide some comfort during this strange time." It's a stunning track, and a gorgeous performance, and a hint at the end to some of those unplugged tracks... which you'll have to wait a little longer for. (Worth the wait!)

The live album is a really special release for me. While I wasn't aware of the band from the start, I met the bassist Oli Steadman through the Oxford music scene shortly after moving there to study. I discovered the band and just how much love there was for them locally was made obvious as I squeezed into the doorway of Truck Store to 'watch' their live set for Record Store Day, shortly after Bonxie had been released. Later that year, I took photos of them playing an 'unplucked' show in a local church, and again, the love in the room was palpable.

While studying, I started to work with Oli and the band's trumpet extraordinaire Tom Hodgson (both of whom I love massively, lovely humans) at Tigmus, running things online and at shows in Oxford, and one of the major highs was us promoting this Stornoway show. In my review at the time, I wrote that "I was incredibly lucky to get to be at the venue from the afternoon, sorting out guest lists, meeting the rest of the band, watching them soundcheck from the stage and hanging around backstage. It's worth pointing out that the entire band and crew are some of the kindest, friendliest people I've had the pleasure of meeting [...] once the performance finished I witnessed the moments after the band came off stage into the green room. Emotions (and champagne) were flowing and it was such a beautiful moment to share with the band."

The Farewell Show is set for release via Cooking Vinyl on July 17th - pre-order a download copy or CD (with signed setlist) here.

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